The Graduate School of Education (GSE) welcomed a new addition this week—someone who traveled more than 4,000 miles to get to Fordham.
Ivana Petrovic, Ph.D., an assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, joins the Division of Psychological and Educational Services as a visiting scholar through the Junior Faculty Development Program, administered by the American Councils for International Education (ACIE).
The first ACIE scholar to visit Fordham, Petrovic will spend the next four months at the Lincoln Center campus researching and writing about applied and multicultural psychology. She will deliver lectures and participate in psychology courses to gain a better understanding of higher education in America and discuss Serbian higher education with Fordham students and faculty members.
“I hope I will bring some of my intercultural experiences,” Petrovic said. “Also I’m trying a lot to work on my own teaching and to enrich my teaching with practice, with active learning. So I hope that we’ll be able to exchange our experiences in that area.”
Though she arrived at Fordham just ahead of the students returning for the spring semester, she began her journey earlier this month at the University of Kansas, where she and 41 other ACIE scholars went through an orientation process before dispersing to 29 universities across the country.
At the end of their semesters, the group will reconvene in Washington, D.C. to evaluate their experiences.
“It’s great to be here at [GSE] to develop my teachings skills, improve my curricula, develop new ones, and gather teaching materials,” she said. “The School of Education is really a leader in education, so here I can be at the source of the most up-to-date knowledge.”
In her native Belgrade, Petrovic spent a large part of her career practicing industrial psychology, in particular, working with organizations to establish psychologically healthy workplaces and promote employee well-being.
Since making the transition to academia, she has conducted extensive research on cross-cultural issues in psychology and applied psychology, as well as in industrial/organizational psychology.
“We know her as a star in psychology,” said Harold Takooshian, Ph.D., psychology professor and member of the American Psychological Association’s council of representatives. “She was a practitioner of many things—with business, with individuals, research, and teaching.”
Petrovic joins an eminent group of researchers at GSE, where a majority of the psychology faculty are fellows in their fields, Takooshian said, a distinction reserved for only 6 percent of the APA’s 84,000 members.
During her stay, Petrovic will collaborate with Fordham faculty at both campuses on cross-cultural issues in psychology, including differing cultural perceptions of the field of psychology and the career management of psychology students. In addition, Petrovic plans to write about GSE for a Serbia Psychology Association newsletter.
“It’s an extremely enriching experience to be in the middle of where practicing people are moving the field,” she said.
ACIE, which administers the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP), is run through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Started in 1994, the JFDP brings professors and lecturers from Eurasia and Southeast Europe to universities across the United States. In doing so, both JFDP fellows and American scholars are afforded the opportunity to become familiar with higher education in various cultures.